Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

Signs of spring continue to show themselves.  My neighbor Trudy and I spent some time porch sitting last night while the oodles of children ran between our yards playing hide and seek in the dark.  Mike’s children, Trudy’s children, those who were invited and those who just wandered in.  I believe that I counted 10 of them at some point, ranging in the 7 to 12 year old age group.  Runners and hiders and screamers.  They were raucous enough to rouse another neighbor’s dog and generate a brief conversation with her.   We’ve had the same conversation many times.  I apologize for the noisy children, she warns that if her dog gets out there may be a problem.  Then she asks “How many of them ARE there?”

Trudy had gone grocery shopping.  When she pulled into her driveway across the street from me, I called out to the gaggle of boys shooting hoops in my driveway “Do we have any gentlemen here?”  They replied in chorus “Yes.”  I reminded them that real gentlemen would be across the street carrying in groceries for Trudy.  She was then mobbed.  While they took her purchases into her house, she came over and joined me on the porch.

The weather was perfect.  The promised storms completely bypassed us, allowing the children to play outside well into the evening.  I have a sense of “time warp” when this happens. 

As we sat on the porch,  I flashed through the almost 20 years I’ve spent sitting on this same porch watching all of the children play.  Many of them have grown to adulthood and have children of their own now.  I hear from them periodically.  I keep in touch with them on Facebook and Myspace.  I watch as they bring children of their own in the world and move forward with their lives.  Once in a while they’ll show up, dragging their own children and reminiscing about the carefree days of their childhood playing in my yard.

Spring is a time of new beginnings and a time of renewal for me.  Just as the crocuses and my allergies return every year, so do the neighborhood children.  As usual, this year, there are some new ones that I have yet to learn the names of.  And the chorus hasn’t changed either.  When they are doing something they maybe shouldn’t be doing and I move towards them to investigate, “HIDE, Holly’s coming!” 

It’s one of the patterns in the tapestry of my life.  And I like that there’s a small voice that sounds like mine buried in their psyches that is saying “You know, guys…. that might not be a good idea.”   or “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

At the end of the day, everyone enjoyed themselves.  The children crawled into bed worn out from the running around and subsequent playing of Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero at Trudy’s house.  My world again became quiet.  As I closed my book on the day, I smiled.  Goal accomplished.  We had fun!


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My First Crocus of 2009

My First Crocus of 2009


The weather is warm today for early March in Southern Illinois.  It’s the time of year I love and hate so much.  The promise of warmer days and beautiful flowers and shady trees is in the air.  The time when the maple trees try to kill me.

I finished my work early this afternoon, and glanced outside.  The sky was a bit overcast but every now and then the sun would peek through.  I could tell by view from my window that the air was warm.  Birds were flying across the yard and the squirrels were racing up and down the trees. 

I decided to test my allergy medication and step outside, camera in hand.  The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and warmed my face as I wandered down the driveway to check the mailbox. 

I was almost to the mailbox when I saw it – my first true sign of early spring.  One tiny brave crocus was opening up its blooms.  It’s a sight that always gets to me, seeing the tiny flowers pushing their way up through the leaves and sticks scattered over the flowerbeds. 

As I crouched to take the picture, I noticed several other stems in the background of the shot.  From where I sat, the little yellow crocus now looked like the leader of a little crocus army, invading my yard for the spring.  I smiled as I took the shot, looking forward to the riots to come.  Yellows and purples and whites…. first the crocuses, then the tulips and daffodils. 

My fingers itched to dig the leaves out of the flowerbeds and make it easier for the little plants to grow.   But I know that it’s too early yet.  The warmth of this week is just a tease – there will be more cold nights and they still need the protection for the moment.  I yearn for the last frost to be done.  Patiently I wait.

Everything in my garden has special meaning to me.  There are a myriad of messages I can’t ignore.

It’s one of the guages I always used to see if I was paying attention.  Like when the boys’ hair or fingernails got too long… If the weeds were growing up in my flowerbeds or wilting from lack of water, I knew it was time to slow down and take a good look at where I was spending my time and energy.

There were other messages that came to me from my garden over the years.  Parallels of life. 

The perennials remind me that some things in this world return again and again but only when the season is right for them.

The annuals keep me aware that some things are in this world only for a short time _ so we should appreciate their beauty while we can. 

Every now and then an “annual” would return unexpectedly the next spring – reminding me that miracles can happen and some things of beauty can return when you least expect them.

Then there are flowers that just show up in my garden – not planted by me but randomly dropped there perhaps by a bird or a squirrel or maybe carried in on the wind.  

They remind me that you never know when a seed is planted how long it may be or how far it may travel before the conditions are right for it to grow into its full beauty. 

You just never know when the combination of sunshine & rain is just such that a seed takes root and grows.  Perhaps sometimes wilting as the weather changes – or  maybe blooming into a beautiful flower unexpectedly set there to suprise and delight some unsuspecting passerby. 

Some of the flowers are more tolerant of change than others.  What may cause one flower to flourish and bloom might cause another to wilt and die.  This is true of most people I know as well.

My garden reminds me to ask the questions:  What are you planting in the garden of your life?  What seeds have you sown?  What have you done to encourage them to grow? 

I plant smiles whenever possible.  Happy Friday!

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I remember when he arrived. My yard was full of children – mine, some that I babysat and a few that just wandered in. It was in the midst of a rousing game of “Mother May I” or “Red Rover” or some such large group game.

A van pulled partially into my driveway and a rather suspicious looking older man leaned out the window. I said hello to him and asked if I could help him. He replied “You know what you need with all these kids in your yard?” I said “A lobotomy?” And that’s when it happened.

He pulled something up from the space between the front seats, cradled it in his hands and stuck his arms out the window while he proclaimed triumphantly “A PUPPY.” (And he said it JUST loud enough for all the children to hear, of course!)

The critter in his hands looked like a baby bear, all black and stub nosed with little short legs. All of the children gathered around making Ooooohing and Ahhhhing noises and exclaiming *in the same triumphant tone as the man* A PUPPY!

I tried not to look at him. I knew there was no way for me to win. The children were all jumping up and down begging to hold him. The man reached a little further out the window and innocently said “Go on, hold him. He won’t bite.” “What kind of dog is he?” I asked. “Half Chow and Half German shephard.” Hmm, this is going to be a pretty big dog.

Now, I’m not against dogs, or children having pets. But this was NOT a good time to get a puppy. Funds were tight and I was barely feeding myself and the boys….. and they had already been gifted a kitten from one of the neighbors not long before.

Of course, I gave in and he stayed. And he was dubbed “Hercules the Legendary puppy” by my sons. As he grew older, he had many adventures and he ran off many times. There are rumors that he’s a hero and saved one of the neighborhood boys from some strange man in a car. Nobody could explain how he got out of the yard that day and the legend says that he knew the child was in trouble and went right over the 4 foot fence. He’s survived heartworm treatment and hitting a car. Yes, I said hitting a car. The car didn’t hit him, he ran into the side of it. And more than a few fights with strays.

Today, I have a great appreciation for his spirit. He’s old now, Mike reminds me often as he brings Hercules into the garage on cold evenings.

Today, he ran away again. In his youth, he would escape from the yard or the leash or the cable and run hard and fast through the neighborhood, with the children and me running hard and fast behind him.

I caught him once, hiding behind a tree – peeking out to see if we were going to come after him. It became a game that we played over and over. I would return, dragging him by the collar and he’d slip back into the yard with the attitude of a prisoner of war.

Today it was different. He escaped undetected when Mike left the gate open for “just a moment”. An hour later, I heard barking and looked out the front door. And there he was, jogging down the street chasing neighborhood dogs. He wasn’t moving really fast, his hind legs don’t support that anymore. I ran after him, also jogging as I gave up sprinting a few years ago myself!

When we both reached the yard at the end of the street, we stopped. I looked at him and said “Come on, old man, we’re way too old for this.” We both turned an headed back to our home. He doesn’t argue with me anymore. I don’t have to grab his collar. And I noticed he took the route with the fewer hills on our return.

I opened the gate and he sheepishly trotted back into the yard. I huffed and puffed my way back to the front door, noticing the green things popping up through the leaves in my garden. Spring must be here!

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